Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Every Prius A Prime


I can't say I called this publicly but I've been thinking it since I first saw the Prime in New York at the beginning of the year. Our friend, Sebastian Blanco at Autoblogreen is the first one to make the claim. I think he could very well be right.
Starting with the fifth-generation models, Toyota might do away with standard hybrid technology altogether in the Prius line-up. Instead, Toyota is considering making every future Prius a plug-in hybrid.
The problem is, the once pioneering Prius has been leap frogged by a number of other cars. It's boring, which is more marketing than a practical consideration but it's also, well, not as efficient as it could be. That is a problem.

Here's the part that scares me a little.
Shoichi Kaneko, assistant chief engineer for the Prius Prime, told AutoblogGreen that creating the next-generation Prius will be a tremendously difficult challenge. Because Toyota wants to lead the way in reducing (and eventually eliminating) fossil fuels from its vehicles, simply making a better standard hybrid powertrain might not be enough. "Ultimately, PHEV may be the way to go," Kaneko said through an interpreter. 
So, yes. That's right. But, it's also still old tech. And I'm not crying for new tech for the sake of novelty but I am pointing out that Toyota is still resisting going full EV for reasons that are, at least to me, totally opaque. They dumped goddess knows how many hundreds of millions into fuel cells and the Mirai for, well, not much in return. And it's hardly clear that is an investment in the future as hydrogen still has one big problem, ignoring the huge one of distribution, where do you get the damn hydrogen? Yet Toyota still refuses to even really acknowledge the existence of EVs a legitimate type of vehicle.

Nice reporting Mr. Blanco.